Fair to say Newcastle fans weren’t impressed when Christian Atsu came on at Old Trafford last Saturday.

Yoshinori Muto had ran himself into the ground for 78 minutes and scored an excellent goal, Atsu replacing him for the final 12 minutes just after Man Utd had equalised.

The 90th minute of course saw the home side get the winner but prior to that Newcastle had some excellent situations on the counter-attack.

However, Christian Atsu in particular looking totally off the pace and lacking in decision making, wasting one great opportunity which left Jonjo Shelvey visibly sowing his frustration.

The week before the winger had got his first Premier League start of the season, Kenedy dropping to left-back and Atsu in front of him.

The Ghanaian international had a poor game and the only bright spot was an excellent first half cross for Diame when the game was goalless, the midfielder missing a very easy header.

On international duty, Christian Atsu has been speaking to the media and claims he has been struggling due to the after effects of surgery in the summer.

The player saying that Rafa Benitez has been very understanding as to the reasons for is poor form, especially a lack of pace.

I’m not sure what to make of Atsu, at times it looks like there is a Premier League player there, but very little consistency.

He scored five times in the Championship and twice last season, in the wins over Stoke at home and West Ham away, that latter game arguably his best so far.

Maybe the best illustration of his time at Newcastle United is that Rafa Benitez has named the former Chelsea player in his matchday squad 70 times for league matches – exactly split – 35 times on the bench and 35 in the first team.

Christian Atsu speaking to Hello FM:

“The surgery I had (this summer) has affected me in several ways.

“This is my third season with Newcastle United.

“First season was when I joined them on loan from Chelsea in the Championship and had enough playing time, eventually qualifying back to the Premier League.

“Second season – I played a lot of games.

“But things have changed this time around because of the surgery I underwent before the World Cup.

“It has really affected my play because I’ve been a little slow but I’m working hard to hit top form soon.

“Rafael Benitez understands my situation and he is trying his best for me.

“In fact, he has in a way adopted me as his son and I regard him as my father too.”

  • toonterrier

    As a professional sportsman he should know how to get fit both mentally and physically so with the backing of Rafa he should work his socks off to get to the standard required for the top league. Over to you son its in your hands.

    • Toontaff

      SD socks?

      • toonterrier

        SD sucks

  • MadMag83

    A lack of pace doesn’t explain poor decision making

    • BanJones

      Lack of pace will have hurt his confidence which might explain it a bit possibly maybe…..

      • MadMag83

        Possibly. Either way it makes Rafa’s decision to bring him on more baffling, if he knows his confidence is low and his fitness isn’t good, then why risk him at 2-2? The only reason I can come up with is lack of anyone else to play

        • mentalman

          There were plenty other options on the bench to try and hold on to what we had, rather than putting on an unfit out of form player who even when fit doesn’t tackle or isnt really the type of player to make anything of the long balls

        • BanJones

          Dribblers are sometimes brought on late to win freekicks up the pitch but you are right, man Yoo bring on Sanchez fighting to get back in the team while we have an unfit Atsu – says it all.

      • Ram Kishore

        Let’s just accept it when it comes to substitution, Rafa is really poor in decision making. I am not saying he has a good bench but he must know hot to get the best out of it because plenty is available there

  • Philippines

    Not quite relevant but have a look at Usain Bolt’s two goals in the Aussie league he scored yesterday.

    • Peaky

      I hope it doesn’t give Fatso any ideas….he’ll be trying to sign Brendan Foster in January on deadline day….

      • Toontaff

        Big Bren has too much money from the GNR!

  • Leicester Mag

    Wasn’t sure surgery and being [email protected]£ were linked

  • Toontaff

    Is it because he is shyte?????????????

    • Peaky

      It’s quite possible he may even be outshyting Hoss this season so far…..what an achievement…..

  • Angelswithdirtyfaces

    I’ve never quite understood the complaints made by the cup winning Liverpool squad, that Rafa was remote, cool and never praised them. Maybe he did do that with some players, being a bit of a perfectionist with them, but you just don’t get the father figure comments from someone who really does lack empathy.

  • BigHairyDog

    Before the season started he was claiming he was now injury free and to watch “him go”. This isn’t down to Rafa, it isn’t injuries or outside circumstances. This is Atsu needing to knuckle down, working well in training but more importantly going out on a Saturday afternoon showing everyone what he’s capable of.

  • Sickandtired

    Surgery? Judging by his Man U appearance his surgeon must have removed his feet and put them back on the wrong legs.

  • Foggy

    Then don’t put the useless tosser on Rafa. I couldn’t care less WTF is wrong with him. I don’t care how much he whines. At the end of the season the excuses don’t matter. Keep him off the pitch. In fact, encourage hm to stay in Ghana.

  • Colin Brumwell

    Then Dad Rafa should send him to bed early with no supper until he improves